Leviticus 26: 12 – 13
It is very interesting that chapter 26 of the book of Leviticus begins with a warning against idols. Clearly Israel had issues with idols and it is not for the people of Israel alone but we struggle with idols even beyond this century, a principle and a warning that permeates both testaments. In 1st John 5:21 it is written “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” It is good to note that obeying this command is only possible by continual dependence on the enablement of the Holy Spirit. Disobeying God in idolatry
is in most cases a result of a low or unworthy conception of God.
Leviticus 26 has very strong words for every disciple of Christ to heed the Word of God, especially when He plainly predicts painful punishment for disobeying. In this chapter to obey God is to “walk in his statutes” Leviticus 26:3, but to disobey Him is to “walk contrary” to the Lord and despise His statutes. Leviticus 26 therefore is a prophetic history regarding Israel’s presence in the land. It contains both blessings and curses. The blessings for obedience are found in Leviticus 26:1-13, the punishments for disobedience are in verse 14-46. The divine blessings given in 4-13 only take effect by keeping the conditions set down in verses 1-3. This is simply to say that God’s blessings on Israel are conditioned by Israel’s keeping of the Mosaic Covenant. This means that one of the issues at stake in the worship of the golden calf was whether or not God would be present with His people. God’s covenant with Israel promised his presence, but only if His people kept His statutes and ordinances.
When Israel walked after the Lord, these blessings were real God was with them, they were his people; one example of this is when the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon and saw a nation so blessed, she knew it had to be of God. The final blessing in verse 14 speaks of freedom and dignity. It feels exactly the same as Jesus proclamation of freedom to the poor and recovery of sight to the blind, here in verse 14 God proclaims the liberty of His people and then invites them to walk in it. John in his vision of the new
Jerusalem in revelation 21:3 said “I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” For today’s Christian the condition is not keeping the statutes of the mosaic covenant but the understanding of who God is. This helps us to keep the statutes of the new covenant whose pillars are: “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” (1 John 3:23-24).
Therefore, the presence of God is the ultimate blessing, and that it is also the basis for the other blessings. God’s presence assures Israel of prosperity and peace, as His absence will bring poverty and peril. The ultimate joy of heaven is the presence of God.